Some alcoholic, childish Friday Fun

First up is something that isn’t fun of itself, but that in the right hands and filled with the right liquid could be a huge amount of fun – I love handbags and I love wine, so these would be simply awesome:

That is the ‘Baggy Winecoat’ – a bag in which you can tote a box of wine. I’m assuming everyone’s been in a situation where they’ve thought to themselves “gosh, life would be so much easier if I had a bag for my wine box”, I know I have. It comes in a variety of colours, but sadly you have to provide the win yourself. Actually, over the summer I was thinking that in my future life as a vicar, a hipflask might be an important accessory – you know, just for those emergency, alcohol involving pastoral situations? But perhaps the wine bag would be easier to get away with? Something to ponder…

Try-hard segue time: you know who liked lots of wine and probably would have invested in their own Baggy Winecoat? Ally McBeal. Ages ago I found something which I added to my Friday Fun file, but hadn’t so far found a suitable outlet for – now, given what will be book-ending this feature, I feel it’s finally appropriate. I appreciate that not everyone will remember the great late 1990s TV series as fondly as I do, but the fact that someone had captured her facial expressions so perfectly made me chuckle a lot:

More Ally McBeal faces here. You know what else Ally McBeal liked, besides wine and making weird faces? Dancing babies. You know what I spent a not inconsiderate amount of time watching last night? Videos of dancing children (they’re pre-schoolers, so not strictly babies, but it’s still cute as). 
Who isn’t going to have their morning brightened by watching super cute twins dancing (and doing a bit of singing) in front of their TV? A hard-hearted mean person, that’s who! 

Keep your eyes on the boy on the right – he’s a right little mover and is definitely the one with rhythm. If you’re really in need of cheeriness, I highly recommend also watching Who Let The Dogs Out and Kung Fu Fighting – super cute! Watching these has also reminded me that I’ve got a copy of Just Dance for the Wii knocking around that I’ve never played with, so if anyone fancies emulating the twins, let me know…

Also, just to warn devoted readers that blogging may be light/non-existent for the next week as I’m off to France. No, not to play with scaffolding (sadly), but to have vicar school en Francais for a week. I don’t go to France for fourteen years and the I end up going three times in four months – typical!

What’s in my handbag

The inspiration for today’s post is derived from the lovely Tea Stains, who shared this meme yesterday. (It was mutually agreed that this was inspiration as opposed to theft.) As I love handbags and am also known to store a ridiculous quantity/variety of things within its folds, it seemed like an interesting thing to share.

(Sorry, I realise that ‘interesting’ is indeed subjective and many of you will simply find this tedious.)

Here’s the bag:

Unusually (for those that know my handbag taste well) this is not an Ollie & Nic purchase. In fact it’s a cast-off from my mother. I originally bought this bag over three years ago from Accessorize and my mother liked it so much that she acquired the same one (this is a common occurrence). Mine developed a fault so I returned it. This summer, mother was in London and purchased a new O&N bag so this one was surplus to requirements – never one to let a handbag go to waste, I adopted it and it’s been an excellent addition.

The best feature is its numerous pockets – all of which are sensibly designed (lots of zips) and in great positions. Very important for easily accessible oyster card and key storage. Plus, it functions both as a shoulder and cross-body bag, fantastic for keeping hands free for other activities (like phone or beverage holding).

It’s these pockets that enable me to carry so much useful stuff around. So much stuff that I had to take two photos to get all the contents in. This is solely what’s in the front pockets:

1. Hand wipes & moist toilet tissue [Leftover from summer festivals.]
2. Antiseptic hand gel
3. Gum
4. Rose Vaseline & lip sun block [No idea why I have both.] Assorted lip-glosses.
5. Eye drops
6. Memory stick
7. Hand cream
8. Oyster Card & Railcard
9. Keys [With photos of children who are now 5 years older than they were then.]
10. Suncream [That can probably be put away now.]
11. Pebble [Discovered in pocket I’d forgotten about, will now go in pebble collection.]
12. Hands-free lead for phone [Essential for radio listening on the walk to work.]
13. Assorted pens
14. Moleskine diary
15. Notebook [Paperchase] for spiritual matters
16. Notebook [Barnes & Noble] for driving notes and draft blog posts
17. Class time-table for Pineapple dance studios
18. Tiny notebook for calorie counting

Bored yet? Here’s the contents of the main bag:

1. Phone [Ancient and to be replaced by a beautiful iPhone 4 asap.]
2. O&N handbag purse (from old handbag) containing feminine things.
3. Spare keys [I’m a little paranoid.]
4. O&N purse [Love it – red, leather, clasps – beautiful.]
5. iPod
6. Hypo-allergenic plasters [Am allergic to all others.]
7. Glasses case
8. Child snacks – raisins, Chewits – for low blood-sugar moments
9. Nail varnish [Leftover from Greenbelt in case of chipped nails.]
10. Alpen bar [See number 8.]
11. Umbrella
12. Camera
13. Big Words Trivia Game [Birthday present put into bag for transportation but hasn’t quite made it out yet. Comes in handy at random moments though!]
14. Price list for waxing salon
15. Menu from Saturday’s restaurant [For choosing food before getting there!]
16. Google map for an art show I went to over a month ago
17. Current read [jury’s out so far].
18. Free copy of G2 [Loving this, second day running it’s been handed out at the station.]
19. Water [Essential.]
20. DVDs – Party of Five and Mad Men [Was in my laptop bag, but didn’t want to leave them at work – that was three days ago…]

You’ll be pleased to hear that this has made me realise just how much tat I lug around with me on a daily basis. I will try to economise when I buy my next bag (imminent purchase) and perhaps have a clear-out once in a while, but I’m not ashamed of my large bag. Quite frankly, I’m pretty sure if I’d been carrying my regular bag, I probably wouldn’t have been mugged at New Year. And on that happy note, I’ll leave you to get on with your day!

In love, or in lust…

Every so often I catch a glimpse of the object of my affection in the flesh. Sometimes it appears in magazines, on TV or online, but it’s the ‘real life’ moments that mean the most and leave me breathless.

I can still remember the first time I caught sight of you. Instantly I knew that you were the one – you stood out like a beacon amongst a myriad of lesser creations. When I pointed you out to my friends they too agreed that you were something special, something that made you worth the costs involved in having you in my life. But someone else took you home that night, yet again I’m not that girl…

Perhaps this is not love, simply lust. Perhaps I don’t need you in my life the way I think I do. Perhaps somewhere there is another one, a better one, one that fulfils my needs in ways I cannot currently imagine. For now I shall watch from afar with envy, but one day – one day soon – I shall move on.

Don’t tell me that similar, less costly objects exist, for they are simply inferior and not worth the expense. If I cannot have the original, I will have nothing and simply mourn the gap that it leaves in my life.

The Alexa Mulberry, officially the first designer handbag I’ve lusted after. I didn’t even dare look at it in the shop, because I knew that once I’d seen it in the flesh, desire would overcome me. I didn’t really expect to come across one socially (I don’t know the kind of people who’d spend £700 on a handbag).

But some weeks ago I spotted it amongst a pile of bags at church. Instantly I recognised it for what it was and wondered who might own it. My initial suspicion was correct – only one woman would be lucky enough to have one, and probably hadn’t had to pay full price for it either. Now I see this bag most weeks in the pub, casually dumped on a table, overspilling with typical female junk. It’s beautiful and exactly what I need to my replace my terminally ill cross-body bag. However, I can’t have it. I know that I can’t have it and must accept that and move on with my life. 

Life can be so hard when we can’t have what we want.

Obsessive – moi?

I’ve long been aware that my personality leans towards obsessive in certain areas. However, I was recently accused of being obsessive about something that I’m most categorically not obsessive towards – shoes.

Now, I know certain people will be thinking “urm, hang on, Liz is totally obsessed with shoes – we hear about it every time she buys new ones”, but actually, I don’t buy them that often. It’s my mother who’s labelled me this way (I heard via a colleague who’s a good friend of hers) claiming that I talk about them all the time.

In fact, I think it’s simply that when I do buy shoes I put a fair bit of thought and research into it and talk through the purchase with shoe-loving people (i.e. my mother and sister) before committing. A fact that I think proves this point is that I hadn’t bought new shoes since early October until this Sunday. That’s over 6 months – impressive I feel.

For quite some time I’ve been feeling a need for some perfect red flats. ‘Perfection’ would include the following points:

  • Decent sole and sensible cushioning (you should take care of your feet and not waste money on shoes that don’t do them or your ankles any good – yes, I am now middle-aged). 
  • A good, bright shade of red – think English phone box. 
  • A rounded toe.
  • Something that makes them a little different (i.e. not simply plain ballet pumps). 
On Easter Sunday I trawled websites trying to find such shoes, disappointed that a google image search for ‘perfect red flat shoe’ didn’t unearth the shoe I’d designed in my mind. Anyway, after over an hour of hunting I located a possibility…two weeks later I spotted them on an actual person and knew they were the ones…a day later I bought them…three days later they arrived. See, it’s a meticulous process! 
And the shoes? 
Aren’t they lovely? They’re these ones
Oh, and a word of recommendation for the lovely people at Schuh. I love their shoes generally (even though their Oxford St branch tends to be a little chaotic) but their delivery service is amazing. If you’re in the shop and they don’t have the right size/make, you can pay for them in-store and they’ll deliver them wherever you want. So on Sunday I placed my order; on Tuesday an e-mail arrived to say they were with the courier; this morning (before I’d even left for work) I got a text to say that they’d be delivered today; and lo and behold, they were at work when I got there! Impressive, and there’s no extra delivery cost. 
[If you want to know what I may actually admit to being obsessed with, one word: handbags. There’s also no way that my mother can judge me on that one as she’s just as bad, if not worse. But, except for replacing my stolen one, I’ve bought no handbags for myself since last August…] 

The company of Mim

This weekend I enjoyed the rare company of my sister Mim (that would be short for Miriam, of course). It involved an essential meal at Wagamamas and shopping expeditions in which we discovered (belatedly) the joys of uniqlo (we oooohhed and ahhhhhed around the shop for a good long while).

We breakfasted at the communal table in Le Pain Quiotidien, where we were joined (unintenionally) by Nigel Planner – star of The Young Ones and Wicked – who ate two boiled eggs and with us tried to ignore the two women nearby discussing whether or not one of them might be pregnant.

We walked lots too. Best way to get round London really, and it means that you have the opportunity to discover fun things, like amusing signage…

Having an unusual name, it’s not often that Mim discovers comedy signs involving it. She was very happy to discover one opposite what has become known (to us) as the campest shop in London. Even better, it’s the name of a handbag emporium.

Mim and Mimco